If I refuse to pay the invoice to my mechanic, can he keep my vehicle?

The answer is yes. This right is called the right of retention and can be found in article 1592 of the Civil Code of Quebec.

However, in order to do so, some conditions must be applied. Firstly, the mechanic must have fulfilled his obligation to repair the vehicle in accordance with the customer demands. Secondly, the customer must give his consent to the mechanic in order for him to retain possession of the vehicle. Obviously, the client must be the owner of the vehicle. Furthermore, the debt (amount owed by the customer) must be closely linked to the repairs made on the vehicle retained by the mechanic at the garage. Thus, the mechanic could not claim the right of retention retaining possession of another customer’s vehicle.

As long as the mechanic retains possession and the customer is not fulfilling its obligation to pay the invoice, this right remains applicable.

But beware! Section 179 of the Consumer Protection Act provides that:

“Notwithstanding articles 974 and 1592 of the Civil Code, the merchant shall not retain possession of the consumer’s automobile

 (a) if the merchant has failed to give an estimate to the consumer before carrying out the repairs; or

 (b) if the total price of the repairs exceeds the price indicated in the estimate, provided that the consumer pays the price indicated in the estimate; or

 (c) if the total price of the repairs exceeds the aggregate amount of the price indicated in the estimate and the price agreed to when the modification was authorized, provided that the consumer pays a price equal to that amount.”

To conclude, be aware that the right of retention may apply to many others situations. We invite you to contact us for more information on this matter.

 Text written by Me Roxane Trudel-Pigeon